Image via iStock
Goodbye, Silicon Valley. Hello, Silicon Slopes.
The tech hubs of San Francisco and San Jose fell precipitously in this year’s ranking of U.S. cities’ economic performance released Wednesday morning by the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that’s published the index every year since 1999. San Francisco and San Jose, which ranked Nos. 1 and 5 last year, respectively, fell to Nos. 24 and 22. Meanwhile, the Provo-Orem region in Utah captured the No. 1 spot, and Salt Lake City rose to No. 4. Utah, the report notes, “has been a recipient of the tech sector’s out-migration from the more expensive coastal cities of California,” attracting companies like Qualtrics, Vivint and SmartCitizen.
The report — which ranked cities based on jobs, wages, high-tech growth, housing affordability and household broadband access — found that the pandemic’s shift to remote work has likely affected California more than any other state. With companies like Salesforce, Twitter, Square, Dropbox, Yelp and Pinterest permitting most employees to permanently work from home, downtown San Francisco is reeling. And Silicon Valley companies Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Oracle recently decamped to Texas, though Google is still planning to expand its offices in San Jose and San Francisco.
- Kevin Klowden, executive director of the Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics: “The pandemic has had an outsized impact on cities where the economic effects of the current recession are exacerbated by high housing costs.”
Of the 10 cities that saw the biggest drop in rankings, three were in California: Salinas, Santa Cruz and Oakland. The report attributed this partly to “extremely high housing costs” due to their proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area, noting that many residents don’t have “jobs and salaries in high-tech industries to compensate for high costs of living.”
But costs can even be prohibitive for those who do. After CJ Paillant, a product manager for a Silicon Valley software company, lost his job early in the pandemic, his $5,400 monthly rent payments began piling up. He and his roommate now owe $43,805 in rent, CalMatters’ Laurence Du Sault reports.
- Paillant: “I got stuck in my luxury apartment. Now I’ve got to raise this money. My life feels like a movie.”
CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.
California’s climate goals likely out of reach
The first, from California State Auditor Elaine Howle, doesn’t mince words: “The state will fall short of meeting the 2030 goal” of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels “unless emissions reductions occur at a faster pace.” The audit, which found that transportation emissions have actually increased since 2013, rebuked the California Air Resources Board for overstating the impact of its emissions-reduction programs
CA GOP smooths party fractures ahead of recall
As the California GOP mobilizes behind the recall — to which it’s donated $125,000 — it will also have to reckon with Trump’s divisive legacy.
Tensions ramp up
The bold step suggests that Newsom and lawmakers have significantly different interpretations of what’s necessary to get kids back in the classroom, especially when it comes to vaccines.
Texas sneezed & now K is catching a cold.
The last thing you want is for us to be taken out by a Texas storm.